September 10th, 2019: Day 4

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I obeyed the final order you gave me yesterday by eating the other half of that repugnant sandwich but you didn't return just as I knew you wouldn't.

My eyes drift toward the outside. I can barely see the striking sapphire sky through the millions of bright green leaves on the tree branches framing the entrance to the cave. I'd give anything to be running through the trails to the freedom under that sky.

I'm about to examine the handcuffs for any weak spots when your voice pulls me in.

"I found out a little secret of yours."

"Secret? What do you mean?" I ask.

"Your family has quite the bank account."

"What does that have to do with-" I stop when I realize the answer to the question I haven't even finished asking.

Oh my gosh, of course this was about the money. That's why when we met at the diner you asked if I go to West Prep. You wanted a private school kid. You were trying to figure out if there would be money in kidnapping me.

"Is that why you did this?" I ask. "For the money? My family will pay you however much you want."

"Oh, I know they will."

"Please just let me go." I beg. "You'll get your money whenever you want it."

"I intend to get my money, but you will not be let go."

"I won't tell anybody! I won't speak to the police! I won't press charges!"

"Stop crying. Now."

I didn't realize I had started but I bring my free hand to my cheek and sure enough, it's soaked.

"You will not be let go. Ever."

"I can get you money, as much as you want," I say.

"Oh, I know you can. And you will. We're gonna record you saying only what I tell you, and then I'm gonna play it for your parents to hear over the phone."

"I want to talk to them."

"No way." You shake your head.

"I just need to hear their voice."

"What you need is to obey me."

The glare in your eye tells me you mean business and I'm scared so I stop arguing and listen to you.

"I will write an entire script out for you. You will say only what is written and you will say it verbatim. Nothing extra, nothing missing. You will follow pauses perfectly. Am I clear?"

I nod and can feel my heart sinking.

You move to the wall opposite me and take a seat on the floor. You shrug off your backpack and place it in front of you. You force the zipper down its track and peel open the main compartment. I'm hesitant to watch you but I need to see what you pull out. Your hand emerges with a notebook and a pen and you waste no time in beginning your project.

I can hear the tip of your pen glide across the sheet of paper. The noise is all too familiar and for once, I actually miss my schoolwork. I try to focus on school and normal life but the pressing thought of what you're going to make me say is debilitating. It feels like days have gone by and you are showing no signs of stopping that pen from creating my fate.

I realize that all of the time I've wasted on watching you could have and should have been used on planning my escape. I begin my efforts at examining the cuffs. I can't tell just by looking if there are any areas that seem to have been compromised so I carefully run my fingers over the metal. I feel a few dents and some scratches etched into it but nothing severe enough to be of any help.

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